Posted: 11 Oct 2011 02:02 AM PDT
Bipin Bhaskaran Nair:
Haiti Mountain HouseHaiti Mountain House
The earth is a dynamic entity. The various layers that compose it are in constant motion. This motion is not entirely due to rotation alone, but also due to the gravitational pull exerted by the sun and moon, as well as the chemical activities taking place inside the core. One of the most disastrous after-effect due to these lithospheric activities is the earthquake. The earthquake shakes the layers of earth, called seismic plates, like the ripples on water when a stone is thrown into it. Like any other wave form, earthquake also carries energy with it. This energy is passed onto every physical system that comes on its way. Well the most vulnerable among them are the buildings. The shock waves shake the foundation so badly that the entire structure collapses.
How serious it is?
It is not the financial loss but the loss of life, that is irreversible. If your house is collapsed, you can build even a better one tomorrow, but if any person dies, can you revive him/her? Certainly not. You are absolutely correct in your argument that it is surely a mammoth task to rehabilitate the entire locality after the natural disaster has struck. So what can be the plausible and most efficient solution?
The panacea for this problem lies in identifying the root cause of this mishap. It should be borne in your mind that none can stop the tremors taking place inside this blue planet. It is like a part of its very nature. So, the humanity should learn to lessen the intensity of disaster. This can be done by learning the basic physics of the crust and designing the building accordingly. Most of the buildings are made to sustain vertical tremor. But what the structural engineers fails to see is the sideways bumping, due to super-position of many waves and also due to sideways propagation of the shock wave. So, the wise engineering would be to design the buildings on this principle. Yet, another thing that must be highlighted is that in the wake of a building falling, basic safeguard measures like standing under the threshold, etc would be in vain. This article also throws light on the recent advancements in building designs.
The scenario in Haiti was the main motivating factor behind the birth of these ideas. Some may seem to be viable, while the others may not. Yet, one cannot jump into conclusions only because he/she has seen the list of alternatives. There are many other factors that must be accounted for.
The main concept that should be considered is the geographic location of the disaster-stricken locality. If the tectonic activity results in another quake, then the rehabilitation homes would prove worthless. Also, one cannot expect the poor people to live in those shabby tire houses and all for the rest of their life. So the ultimate solution lies in designing the apartments right from the beginning to withstand such disasters, without causing loss in the aftermath.
The best alternative can be arrived upon if we understand the root cause of the problem at hand. Remember that it is not the earthquake, but the poor construction that puts the life at risk. For example, it’s found that some buildings in the quake struck locality have collapsed, while the others haven’t. This is because, those which have stood the tremors, were braced to the ground, taking into cognizance the sideways shaking also. So it becomes the moral responsibility of the architects to design the building accordingly. Another aspect that should be considered is the natural frequency of the structure. If the natural frequency of the building matches the frequency of quake, the oscillations increase in amplitude, finally bringing down the complete structure. If the two aforementioned facts are considered while building an apartment, there are less chances of damage.
1. Vertical bamboo home
Vertical bamboo homeVertical bamboo home
This is a design proposed by St. Val Architect studio of Haiti, after the aftermath of many natural disasters in this region. The concept consists of a building made in the form of cocoon, by interweaving the bamboo fibers. Well the advantage of bamboo lies in its cheapness, tough fiber structure and resistant to natural disasters.
2. Quake resistant houses for San Francisco
Vertical bamboo homeVertical bamboo home
This was provided to New York by San Francisco during hurricanes. It’s mainly composed by helium balloons, water and weather resistant shell. This will act like a protective shell when the disaster strikes.
3. Core house
Core houseCore house
The main features of the core house is shown in the figure above. Apart from being a refuge from earthquakes, this architecture is modern and cool, LED lounge having all the state-of-the art facilities like MP3 player, iPod and cellphone.
4. Recycled tires home
Recycled tires homeRecycled tires home
A weird by sustainable concept is one that of home made by piling up discarded tires. This is also an idea that has its roots in Haiti. Well, it seems the natural disaster has enlightened the mighty minds.
5. Dubbed earth-ship
Dubbed EarthshipDubbed Earthship
This is a novel creation by Architect Michael Reynolds for the quake struck Haiti. He envisages to use recycled materials to build refuge homes in the aftermath of quake. Thus the task of rehabilitation becomes cheap and feasible, because of the use of already available items. The power would be obtained from natural sources like solar energy.
6. Re-GROWTH pod
re-GROWTH podre-GROWTH pod
If you are looking for cheap and quick solution at the time of disaster, then prefabricated homes would be the ideal solution. This is because they in simulated conditions, taking into account all the bad faces of nature. This was originally made to help rebuild the fire-devastated regions of Australia.
7. ‘Quake-proof’ home
Quake-proof' homeQuake-proof' home
It was developed by a home builder in Camas, Washington.The structure is made up of recycled steel, though it gives an impression of a wooden home. It can be easily dismantled and is one of the quickest solution at the time of earthquake.
8. 900 shipping containers homes
900 shipping containers homes900 shipping containers homes
This can be termed as the lively example of mastery in engineering. It is a basic fact that the shipping containers are designed and manufactured in such a way that it can sustain all forces, without damaging the objects contained in it. This concept has been extended upon to provide refuge to the people in seismic tectonics. Nearly 900 of them were used in Haiti. Cheers to the Canadian musician maestro Luck Mervil, who gave this idea.
9. Solar powered wooden homes
Solar powered wooden homesSolar powered wooden homes
The house is constructed by Haiti Development Corporation. Wooden cabins, made in Swiss style, this provides more sustainable, more beautiful alternative and powered by solar energy.
10. Haiti Mountain House
Haiti Mountain HouseHaiti Mountain House
Posted: 11 Oct 2011 12:39 AM PDT
Self-sufficient skyscrapersSelf-sufficient skyscrapers
Generally, all the skyscrapers planned for future are self sufficient. The dream of purely green buildings nourishing a human life, along with their own generated energy, food products, recycled water without any support of infrastructural services like electric power grid, municipal water supply, sewage management system, etc., is coming into the reality in the presumptuous future harsh climate.
Various self-sufficient towers support life not only by giving shelter, but also supply all other indispensable needs of the human beings.
It is expected that more than 3 billion people will be added to the current population till the end of year 2050. The condition and quality of fertile soil will get poorer due to heavy loss with erosion, desertification, and other climatic conditions. If the growth rate of the global population will be increasing in such way, a lot of problems related to human life like shelter, potable water, food and energy will become more and more challenging. Also, global warming is making the conditions more brutal day by day. So, we have to realize about forthcoming future and will have to take necessary steps in the direction of conservation of the available resources. Self-sufficient skyscrapers can be referred as 'future buildings' because these are supposed to nurture life even in such upcoming horrible conditions.
What makes it stand out?
Naturalists, architects, and scientists from different countries have been fascinated by these autonomous buildings. Now, these structures are being developed by several countries. The following features make self-sufficient skyscrapers prominent:
a) Self powered
As electricity is a mandatory and much expensive utility, the prime necessity is to design a house that would be independent or much reduced in power demand. The self-sufficient towers will be entirely powered by renewable energy sources and so, could be the prototype of the upcoming future.
b) Reduced environmental impacts
Eco friendly building materials usually utilized to construct such skyscrapers, which impart no roll in environmental pollution. Also, the utilization of renewable energy sources like sunlight, wind stream for harvesting the electricity requirements instead of traditional resources, make a skyscraper perfect green building. Harvesting rain to fulfill their water requirement can convey a major role in water conservation. Nowadays, architects are designing models of towers containing inbuilt green gardens on roofs or along with supporting walls.
c) Increased security
Self-sufficient skyscrapers are highly safe from different natural phenomena like earthquakes, lightening, storms etc. While designing, architects test and analyze the structure in every aspect of naturally occurring disasters. Proper geographical survey of a suitable place, before their set up, is carried out and necessary modifications are applied accordingly.
d) Lower costs of ownership
Self-sufficient towers are usually energy-efficient, and thus are regarded as cost-efficient. Building walls are shaded with heat reflecting scales, rooms are properly ventilated and are cooled by using water and solar or wind power which help in minimizing the air conditioner costs. Most of the water of their need is harvested by rain water and by recycling. Heating systems utilize the green energy generated by solar or wind current. Overall, using in-site resources to fulfill the needs in a skyscraper make it self-sufficient and cost effective.
e) Versatile design for any climate
It is quite possible for a skyscraper, designed for the tropics to be used in colder environment. The energy efficient materials used in the building construction plays a very significant role in fighting against climatic changes. Some important modifications inside and outside a tower allow for saving energy and adaptable to any environments.
Where do we go from here?
The concept of self-sufficient skyscrapers foresees a tower accomplished with a supply of clean water, food, and energy for the human. The most important point about these buildings is these are not only artistically designed but they provide vertical farms for daily vegetable and food production along with hydroponics that allocate humid air to be converted into potable water and a fully equipped system to harvest the solar and wind energy.
Burj Al-TaqaBurj Al-Taqa generate 100 percent energy by itself
Burj Al-Taqa is a giant self-sufficient building situated in Dubai, which is full-fledged with the machinery like solar cells and windmills, to harvest renewable energy resources. The building is also equipped with hydrogen gas production plant from the sea water, and therefore it can generate 100% own energy of its need. The tower is armored with a protective shield that will protect it from intense sunlight as well as to maintain the apartments and rooms cool and fresh.
Waterscraper‘Waterscraper’ concept gives skyscrapers a dunking
Waterscraper is self-sufficient and sustainable floating city located in the sea. The waterscraper is capable of harvesting green energy through sunlight, wind stream, tidal wave as well biological sources and growing its own food by farming, hydroponics and aquaculture systems.
Self Powered Rotating Skyscraper
Self Powered Rotating SkyscraperSelf Powered Rotating Skyscraper
Costanera SurCostanera Sur
Posted: 11 Oct 2011 12:31 AM PDT
Click and Grow flowerpotsClick and Grow flowerpots to electrify indoor gardening
A Chinese proverb says that “if you want to be happy for a month get married and if you want to be happy for life be a gardener.” If you are a greenery lover and don't have so much of time to take care of the plants then, Click and Grow is the one and the best option available for you. You don't need to water the plants or add fertilizers or give any kind of extra care. The sensors, microprocessor and special software will take care of your plants without making you feeling guilty of ignoring your plants. The only thing you have to do is add some water and batteries and do what ever you feel like and click and grow will take care of everything else and your flower pot will be ready.
It is a clean without soil growing technology and has sensors inside it. The indigenous pots measure all required parameters and provide an exact amount of water, fertilizers and air. Mattias Lepp, the CEO of Click and Grow, came up with this idea after going through an article about the space program of NASA that said about growing plants in space without soil by using technologies like aeroponics and hydroponics. He thought of developing these technologies so that it could fit to modern homes and relieve people of problem regarding plants and their growth. The sensors, microprocessors and software in the pot takes care of the growth and development of the plant. A plant that grows in the Click and Grow flowerpot needs no watering, fertilizing or any extra care. In Click and Grow flowerpot, there is a special plant cartridge, which includes all the things necessary for plant growth – nutrients, seeds and software.
Where we are now
It does not require soil as it relies in aeroponics and grows plant in mist or air environment. The plant cartridge contains the seeds of desired plant and some fertilizers and information about seed type. The basic model gives notification lights to indicate when the tank is to be refilled, but the higher end model can even collect water from the air. After the prototypes refinement the product has gone into full scale production. This system comprises of a planter pot that uses by four AA batteries and features sensors that controls various parameters affecting the plant’s growth. After placing the cartridge into the pot, all that needs to be done is to fill the water tank again every couple of months, according to the surrounding temperature and replace the batteries about every eight months.
What makes it stand out?
It is not an ordinary plant pot, because it does not require the plants to be watered. The seeds are surrounded by internal sensors and the microprocessor will work to find out what the plants actually need. Top soil is also not to be bought so, no more earthworms in your house. It works on batteries and has a status light to guide you.
Where do we go from here?
The plant cartridge and the flowerpot work in co-ordination with each other like a printer. The old plant can be easily replaced by new plants when the life cycle of old plant ends. After the new plant cartridge is placed into the flowerpot, all the needed data for growing the plant is installed for growing a particular plant. A large number of people have already started signing up much before the production of the product has started. It seems to be a magic for most of the people.
1. Hi-tech and simple ceramic pot to grow herb
Ceramic PotSimple Ceramic, high tech Pot to Grow Herb
2. Solar-powered green air planter
GreenAir planterGreenAir planter makes indoor air fit for breathing.
3. Power planter
Power PlanterPower Planter is a small, porcelain, desktop planter.
4. Digital pot
Digital PotDigital Pot, Indicates Plant's Condition Via Facial Expressions
Posted: 11 Oct 2011 12:06 AM PDT
Stylish gadgets and accessories for photographersGadgets and accessories for a photographer
1. Solar Powered Strap
Solar powered strapSolar powered strap for photographer
This fashionable white and dark blue design by Weng Jie uses flexible photovoltaic film panels and two storage batteries to power your camera using solar power. Given the enduring trend of photographers using broad and thick straps for their professional equipment, this adds a dash of fashion while using the sun's energy to deliver power. It comes with a DC power output jack, which means it can be used to power the camera though not charge the batteries in them.
2. Kodak 1881 Pocket Locket
Kodak 1881 Pocket LocketKodak 1881 Pocket Locket Camera conceptt
This design by Lindsey Pickett capitalizes on the nostalgia factor by packing a digital camera into a circular locket that opens up to display your favorite photograph. What is more fun is that it can also be used to take photographs by just aiming the locket and tapping on it. The photo display doubles up as the LCD screen for viewing and framing your shots. You can wear it around your neck or carry it in your pocket.
3. Biopod Tripod Concept
Biopod Tripod ConceptBiopod Tripod Concept
One of the greatest challenges for photographers needing a steady shot or a long exposure in uneven terrain is the difficulty of positioning a standard tripod. While monopods and bipods are useful, they do not give the stability for shots in low light or shots needing longer exposure times. The grasshopper-like Biopod Tripod concept by the internationally acclaimed bicycle design specialist, Morteza Faghihi, uses positioning and stabilization principles to allow photographers to go as low as 3 inches off the ground, as well as get a stable platform on the most uneven of surfaces.
4. Yang Ying Digital Camera
Yang Ying Digital CameraYang Ying Digital Camera Concept
Kubasek Krzysztof has come up with this unique design that captures the essential philosophy of the harmony of opposites. Using the traditional yin and yang symbols of male and female energy, he has come up with a camera design that is made up of two teardrop halves that come together to make the circle shaped camera. One half comes with the memory storage and an USB jack. The other half has the lens and the LCD display. You can offload your pics from the storage onto your computer directly without the need for additional cables by plugging the memory half of the camera into your computer's USB port.
5. The Artefact WVIL Camera
Artefact WVIL cameraCool Artefact WVIL camera
This design from Artefact aims to bring together the best of smartphone technology with the best of the prosumer camera segment. The WVIL stands for Wireless Viewfinder Interchangeable Lens. This concept basically allows you to free up the lens from the viewfinder and be able to see the display wirelessly. Though it looks very unconventional, sort of like a cell phone stuck at the end of a lens, it offers a touchscreen based viewfinder that uses high quality interchangeable lenses that have their own image sensors, power and memroy. So you can set up these lenses wherever you want and access them remotely using the wireless platform.
6. Nova DSLR
Nova DSLRThe Nova DSLR
This camera is designed by the industrial designer Eric Fong. The traditional form of the camera has not undergone a great deal of innovation in spite of wet films giving way to the digital format. Eric Fong uses this to his advantage by changing the body design and replacing the standard box with two rotating arms mounted at the end of the lens. These can be used on both sides interchangeably to accommodate left and right handed photographers, as well as combined at the center into a single handle. An interesting form factor innovation from this creative designer.